U.S. hails Turkish move against ISIS in Kobane

Smoke and flames rise following an explosion in the Syrian town of Kobane.

Smoke and flames rise following an explosion in the Syrian town of Kobane.

The United States welcomed on Tuesday Turkey’s policy shift allowing Iraqi Peshmerga fighters to enter into Syria to support their brethren fighting militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the city of Kobane.

“We welcome those statements from the foreign ministry,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

But Kurdish activists inside Kobane said no Peshmerga fighters had arrived by Monday evening, raising questions about whether the mission was really underway, according to the Associated Press.

An influx of well-trained Peshmerga fighters into Kobane could be a major boost for the Syrian Kurds, who are now being supported by U.S.-led air strikes and air drops after a month-long battle against ISIS.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made the announcement hours after the U.S. airdropped weapons and ammunition to resupply Kurdish fighters for the first time.

Those airdrops Sunday followed weeks of airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition in and near KobanE.

“I think as we’ve all seen ISIL pour more resources, more fighters into Kobane, the situation has become… increasingly serious,” Harf said.

She added talks were continuing with Turkey about further ways in which the Turks could help the US-led coalition fighting the militants, who have grabbed a large area of territory in Iraq and Syria.

“I would disagree with the notion that there’s some split between us on how to fight this threat. Overarching goals here are exactly the same. We have constant conversations about tactics and strategy and how we should go about that.”

It had become clear that, after a month under bombardment, “the forces on the ground were running low on supplies necessary to continue this fight, that’s why we decided now to authorize this,” Harf said of the U.S. air drops.

“And our support will continue to help them repel ISIL. That said, there’s still a possibility that Kobane will fall,” she warned.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Monday during a visit to Indonesia that it would have been “irresponsible as well as morally very difficult” to turn the world’s back on Kobane.

 
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